Tiburon emerges from quiet period in a big way
Ian Archbell, the vice president of marketing and product development for Pleasanton, Calif.,-based Tiburon, admits that the company hasn’t been making much noise in the marketplace lately. But that changed in May, when Tiburon landed a $30 million contract from the city of Houston Police Department — the biggest deal in the company’s history, according to Archbell — to deploy a records-management system that will replace a 25-year-old mainframe-based system.
“That is pretty important for us, a real feather in our cap,” he said.
Archbell is confident Tiburon will build on that success. Indeed, he recently told Urgent Communications that the company hopes to double its revenues during the next three years. “The expectation is that Tiburon is going to be a rapidly growing business,” Archbell said.
The strategy to accomplish this goal is multifaceted, according to Archbell. For starters, the company will narrow its focus in terms of the solutions it makes available to the marketplace to concentrate on its core competencies, i.e., records management and computer-aided dispatch. “Historically, we haven’t focused very well,” Archbell said. “In truth, we have had too many products to do them all well.”
Nevertheless, Tiburon plans to be very aggressive in rolling out new products within its core competencies, which is another important facet of its growth strategy. This month, for instance, Tiburon expanded the capabilities of its CommandCAD, LawRECORDS and JailRECORDS solutions.
“The perception is that Tiburon has been stagnant,” Archbell said. “It is far from stagnant today.”
CommandCAD features new algorithms that enable the solution to automatically dispatch based on geography or vehicle type, enabling faster and more effective responses. Meanwhile, the LawRECORDS solution provides enhanced automated reporting for the state of California’s electronic citation and arrest reporting system (E-CARS), while the JailRECORDS solution offers an improved separation-management function that enhances security within correctional facilities.
“Some inmates shouldn’t be together with certain groups. For instance, one gang member shouldn’t be put with another gang member,” Archbell said. “Essentially, it’s a sophisticated method of separating inmates according to various different characteristics … which obviously improves safety for the both officers and inmates within a correctional facility.”
Additionally, Tiburon has developed an easier-to-use graphical user interface that automatically adjusts to changing light conditions, an important feature for field personnel. “The ‘night mode’ function adjusts colors, brightness and contrast, which lets officers driving in the dark much more easily see what they’re doing,” Archbell said. “This might seem like a small thing … but in our usability studies, this was the key request that was coming [from our customers].”
Looking ahead, the company is developing Connect, which is based on the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) — a federal, state and tribal interagency initiative launched four years ago under the aegis of the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security — that is designed to create a foundation for seamless information exchange via XML. “It’s similar to the Accord standard in the insurance industry,” Archbell said.
The solution will enable users to share data and services with other agencies. “For example, it will make it possible for one agency to request dispatching of a vehicle that’s operating somewhere else,” Archbell said.” A beta version of the solution currently is being tested at an unnamed agency in Kansas City, Mo. Archbell expects Connect to be generally available in the first quarter of next year.
Tiburon also plans to develop versions of its products originally developed for the Tier 1 market — cities with populations of 1 million or more, a segment in which Tiburon currently holds roughly an 18% market share, according to Archbell — that can be targeted to the Tier 2 market.
“We’re aiming to deliver a Tier 1 product at a Tier 2 cost,” he said, adding that customization likely will need to be sacrificed in order to achieve that goal. “It will deliver about 80% of what a Tier 1 product would do, but perhaps without the same level of configurability.”
The products will operate in a Microsoft.net environment, which is less expensive to operate and — perhaps more importantly — more reliable than other platforms, according to Archbell. “At the end of the day, [public safety] is a risk business,” he said. “They’re not focused on saving every single dollar or on revenue. They’re focused on risk, to citizens and officers. … These systems have to stay up and they have to run.”
The reliability of the Microsoft.net platform also is a good thing for Tiburon, Archbell said. “It lets us concentrate on what we do best, which is public safety, and leave the platform to the people who understand the platform,” he said.
Archbell added that another plus to working with Microsoft is that far fewer applications have to be developed from scratch. “If you go to any other platform, you’re not getting the same tooling and you’re not getting the same level of debugging,” he said. “Overall, Microsoft is delivering a very, very comprehensive platform.”